South Africa coach Russell Domingo has said that a couple of crucial partnerships and performance of the spinners were the key to India’s success in the fourth ODI.
“It was a great partnership (between Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane) and Virat played a great innings. Kohli’s partnership with Rahane and then with (Suresh) Raina put the nail in the coffin for us. We didn’t have a big enough partnerships and everytime we seemed to get one, we lost wickets. All credit to India,” said Domingo at the post match press conference.
“The Indian spinners then outbowled us. The wicket was also a lot more used when they bowled and that’s why it’s difficult to beat India. They have world class bowlers and know how to bowl in their conditions. India played better cricket than us. That’s the bottom line,” he added.
India posted 299 for eight and then restricted the South Africa to 264 for nine to win by 35 runs and level the five-match ODI series 2-2.
On whether playing spin is a concern, the coach said: “We thought it would arrive earlier. Pretty pleased it has only arrived now. This ground has a history of the ball spinning. It’s not an easy ground to chase. It’s not a concern, they’re a quality bowling side and bowled really well. It’s a game of small margins.
Domingo said his team was expecting the wickets to be similar to the one here in the rest of the series.
“We pride ourselves as guys who play spin really well. We’ve gone to places and performed really well against spin. We’re expecting the wickets to be similar to this and we want to beat the best sides in their conditions. This is a chance for us. It’s going to be tough but we’re prepared.”
Domingo said he was looking forward to the last ODI in Mumbai.
“It’s going to be a good game. If someone had told us that we’ll be 2-2 after winning the Twenty20 series, we would have taken it. It’s been a great effort from us. To lose only by 30 odd runs and score 265 on this wicket was good and we’re really looking forward to Mumbai,” he said.
The coach said he was not too worried about Hashim Amla’s lack of form.
“Amla is a massive player. Two players who have averaged more than 50 in ODIs and Tests are Hashim and AB de Villiers. He is a quality player and all of them have phases in their careers when they don’t get too many runs, but he could still get a century in Mumbai. Hashim is that sort of a player and we’re not too concerned,” said Domingo.
Morne Morkel was not a part of the playing XI on Thursday after sustaining a injury and Domingo admitted that his absence was a big blow.
“He has been our best fast bowler for the last year or two. He picks up wickets in the middle and batsmen don’t enjoy facing him. Not having him was a big blow. But we have a good squad. Morris did well today and gave us a bit of batting depth. We don’t rely on one player, injuries are part and parcel of the game,” he said.
On the issue of maintaining a slow over-rate, he said: “We’re grappling with over rates but there have been many breaks. We try and do as much as we can. There are a lot of field changes when things get chaotic but I’m sure de Villiers will be ok. Everyone wants him to play.”